(In this essay when I use the word ‘Jesus’, I am not talking about the thing they often call Jesus…the idol-thing religions will build and drag around to crush or control people…the thing individuals use to placate their egos, but the Free and Living Jesus Who can be neither institutionalized nor industrialized nor appropriated in any way to be used as a tool.)
You’d imagine it would be simple…people realizing that they are not Jesus. However, it doesn’t seem to happen that way. People just can’t seem to stop from thinking that they’re Jesus or some form of Jesus.
Now, I’m not talking about the mentally ill. For some of them, believing they are Jesus is all they’ve got, bless their battered minds. No, I’m talking about everyone else.
There are the obvious ones…the celebrities, of course. By celebrities, I not only mean the entertainment people but also politicians, mega-church preachers, “motivational” speakers, royalty; all those sort. These people live within the illusion of social hierarchical being where they are seduced into believing the constant accolades in their lives are not simply the results of the cultural worship of mammon, deceptive marketing and the support of various political and capitalist systems that make use of their celebrity, but something real and eternal. They are worshipped by crowds but only in the same way the ancients, to calm their angst, drew a face on a stick and then worshipped that. But, this is not Jesus, not even close to Jesus.
Then there are the subtle less grandiose ways people believe they are Jesus. I see it all the time in their interpretations of the stories handed down through the New Testament. They apply their own selves to the stories, covering over some things, eliminating important facts, taking the stories out of the context of place and time and oral tradition, all to become Jesus. They superimpose their own thoughts, feelings and personal deficiencies upon Jesus, ignoring His Nature. They replace Jesus with themselves to make Him personally useful to them. This is the main reason why Jesus is always portrayed as such an dull goof in movies and shows.
To firmly establish who is not Jesus, (or even like Jesus), let’s look at what we know about some of the Characteristics of Jesus:
- He had no respect for or even need of money or material possessions. Matthew 6:26
If you have even an ounce of this need or want, you’re not Jesus.
- He refused to placate the elite, (who would have definitely welcomed the use of Him.)
If you are quite able and willing to placate the elite, you’re not Jesus.
- He refused to be a part of the hierarchical social structure. John 6:15
If you could not refuse to be socially exalted, (humblebrag is the acceptance of social exaltation), you’re not Jesus.
- He could look past a face and see what was in a mind. Matthew 12:25 Luke 5:22 Luke 11:17 etc.
If you are stuck at the face, you’re not Jesus.
- He could see past, present and future. John 1:48 Matthew 26:25
If you do not live outside of time, you’re not Jesus.
- He could heal bodies and minds.
If you cannot keep sickness from even yourself let alone others, you’re not Jesus.
- Jesus was a human being, but yet alone and apart from the constructs of human beings. He existed upon the earth in a place He called The Kingdom of God, and He embodied the Kingdom. John 18:36 John 8:23
If you have a solid place of belonging within the constructs of this world, you’re not Jesus.
- He existed well beyond the unhealthy social conformities of his time and place.
If you live as part of any ‘group mentality’ of your time, even a supposed progressive group, you’re not Jesus.
When reading the stories of Jesus it’s important to remember three things:
- These are oral anecdotes about a Holy Presence in a particular place and time that were written down by people who were not actually there, (with the exception of maybe parts of the Book of John), who had no experience of the Presence and who wrote with a political-religious bias. (Even the people who walked beside Him struggled to understand Jesus.)
- As such anecdotes they cannot be whole. They are often missing details and intent. They do not come with any understanding of the verbal hermeneutic subtleties from which they originated. They provide only hints of Jesus’ sense of humour, and His wit. Ultimately, these skeletal stories are far from easy to properly interpret, and cannot be analyzed with any accuracy without looking at them as clues to a much larger puzzle.
- You’re not Jesus, so when reading these stories, don’t believe for a moment that He is anything like you. Think outside of yourself and look to God the One and Only for inspiration, and remember that Jesus was not laying out dogma for a church. He was trying to save the stupid blind souls that were in front of Him.